By Victor Reklaitis
Republicans are widely expected to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in this November’s midterm elections, with betting market PredictIt giving an 85% chance for that outcome.
The GOP is getting good odds for taking back the U.S. Senate, too, as PredictIt puts them at 73% .
Having his Democratic Party lose its grip on both chambers of Congress would be a considerable setback for President Joe Biden. Analysts have said that could mean that “ all of the activity moves to regulation ” by the executive branch, including “much more aggressive actions as it relates to bank /zigman2/quotes/201006419/composite KBE +2.78% regulation, energy /zigman2/quotes/206420077/composite XLE +0.46% regulation, healthcare /zigman2/quotes/205918244/composite XLV +0.68% regulation, antitrust regulation.”
So which Senate races are worth tracking, as 34 seats in that 100-member chamber are up for grabs this year?
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report has tagged nine races as competitive as of mid-January, with ratings such as “Toss up” or “Lean D.” Cook views the other 25 contests as not competitive, labeling them as either “Solidly D” or “Solidly R.”
The table below lays out the nine races that bear watching.
Key Senate races in 2022
|1||Arizona||Sen. Mark Kelly (D)||Toss up|
|2||Florida||Sen. Marco Rubio (R)||Lean R|
|3||Georgia||Sen. Raphael Warnock (D)||Toss up|
|4||Nevada||Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D)||Toss up|
|5||New Hampshire||Sen. Maggie Hassan (D)||Lean D|
|6||North Carolina||N/A, incumbent (R) retiring||Toss up|
|7||Ohio||N/A, incumbent (R) retiring||Lean R|
|8||Pennsylvania||N/A, incumbent (R) retiring||Toss up|
|9||Wisconsin||Sen. Ron Johnson (R)||Toss up|
Source: Cook Political Report
Democrats are the incumbents in four out of the nine competitive races, Republicans are the incumbents in two, and three don’t have incumbents running because they’ve opted to retire. The three retirees are GOP senators: North Carolina’s Richard Burr, Ohio’s Rob Portman and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey.
Primary elections will be held this year to determine the parties’ candidates.
Republicans just need a net gain of one seat to take control of the Senate, as they currently hold 50 seats. Democrats’ grip on the 50-50 chamber comes only because Vice President Kamala Harris can cast tie-breaking votes.
“It is a sign of just how dire the situation is for Democrats that their best shot at keeping the Senate and limiting their losses in the House is the propensity of their opponents to nominate candidates who frighten suburbanites more than they do,” said Matthew Continetti, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank, in a recent National Review op-ed .
“Even so, the various weaknesses of the Republican Party may not be enough to save the Democrats.”
Democrats seized control of the Senate just one year ago, as their two candidates in Georgia defeated incumbent Republicans in the state’s runoff elections on Jan. 5, 2021.
This report was first published on Jan. 18, 2022.